When the holidays kind of suck (A personal post) | Atlanta Boudoir Photographer

Posted on by sarahwitherington@gmail.com


Let’s just put it out there: sometimes the Holidays really suck.

“Happy Holidays! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy all of the things!!!” Is it appropriate to flip someone the bird if they say that to you? The holiday season, or any holiday ever, isn’t happy for everyone.

The holidays can honestly be anything but happy, and I’ll come right out and say it: this holiday season isn’t exactly looking particularly happy for myself, my family, my boyfriend’s family, and a variety of the people that I have in my life. Generally I love a good email from Sephora and a spruce-tree candle, but right now I hate it all and also I’m avoiding them… along with any stupid, dumb, cheesy, warm-toned, Hallmark Movie. I did buy a tree, but it’s about as “Charlie Brown” as you can get while still making an effort.

Over the 2018 year there existed a litany of life circumstances (can we just call it SHIT?) that had myself and those around me wanting to crawl into a dark, warm bed, only to return after it was all over. And while I’ve only recently encountered certain circumstances that are making me dread the holidays, I know that “Holiday Hell” has existed for so many of you before now. It’s been years since you could look fondly on family gatherings, on special recipes, on memories that you now look back on with pain because they feel false. 

Since August especially we have experienced the deaths of two very important family members. Once on my boyfriend’s side and once on my side. During and before those deaths we have been faced with sickness, tragedy, and accidents with our family and friends. During an exciting trip to upstate NY in August we learned of the passing of Frank’s mom’s partner of nearly 20 years. During this past week we learned of the passing of my aunt, the matriarch of our family (and where I get my affinity for black and bling). Both passings were after we had already made plans to visit because the inevitable was going to happen. We never made it for our last good byes. 

For this holiday season we, and many of our friends, are experiencing a “first” holiday without loved ones. I say “a first holiday” because for the next year there will be many more “first holidays” without them. While I feel sad that this is our first holiday without each other, I also know that there are so many of you that have had countless holidays without those you love, and also without those that you wish loved you.


So, let’s be honest. The holidays are not always happy. They f***ing suck sometimes. Holidays, which are supposed to bring us together in love, joy, thankfulness, remembrance, and reverence, are often clouded with hurt, sadness, anger, apathy, loneliness, and distance. 


At this point I know we could add to the list of negative feelings, but that isn’t the point of this post. Mostly I want to let those of you that feel alone, anxious, pissed off, sad, and allllllllll of the other emotions that aren’t displayed in a Hershey’s or a Gap commercial that it is OK and that someone else out there feels what you feel. 

Hugs to all of you, I’ll be flying to upstate NY for a few days and immediately flying to Savannah, GA for gatherings at opposite ends of the country, but without opposite situations. For those of you in pain, in love, alone, sick, tired, hurt, isolated, pissed off, and on the edge: much love and virtual hugs. The holidays can suck so hard, and you’re definitely not the only one to feel that. 

I’m thankful for all of you that follow along and support OWN. The community of clients, photographers, and friends is incredibly encouraging during hard times and for that I will never feel an ounce of sadness.

-xoxo

signature.png



Celebrating '50 again', late-life divorce, and seeing yourself | Atlanta boudoir photographer

Posted on by sarahwitherington@gmail.com

One of the best parts about photographing boudoir sessions for individual women is that I get to bring you stories of life and purpose that will hopefully resonate with you. Boudoir photography, while resulting in killer imagery (especially at my new studio here in Atlanta!), is still a product of a journey for most of my clients. 

We have events in our lives, milestones, relationships, random Tuesdays, etc that shape our views of ourselves (for better and for worse!). It's incredible to watch a new sense of OWNership and love-of-self take over after the boudoir experience. This lovely woman came to me at our Atlanta boudoir studio out of celebration and I loved reading her story. Check it out below!

 

1) How old are you... or if you prefer, who were you listening to at age 14 :)? 

I just celebrated my ’50-again’ birthday in December

 

2) What do you do for a living?

I am an Information Technology Manager

 

3) What/who made you decide to book a boudoir session?

Divorce after 25 years of being married, relocating to Atlanta, starting a new job, new life – [I] wanted to celebrate me and all I have become

atlanta boudoir, boudoir atlanta, divorce boudoir, best boudoir, african american boudoir, atlanta boudoir photographer, boudoir photographer atlanta

 

 

4) Did you have any obstacles or fears about boudoir?

LOL, like most people, I’m sure, I was concerned about how this body really looked!

 

5) Why did you choose OWN? 

After seeing the pictures on the website and the tasteful, sensuous, artistic expressions of all types of women, I knew Sarah was a skilled professional

 

6) How was the actual session different from what you expected (if at all)?

It was much more personalized and casual and relaxing than I expected….it was like spending the afternoon with a good girlfriend! The way Sarah directed me to pose was incredibly easy but produced magnificent results!!

atlanta boudoir session, atlanta boudoir, boudoir atlanta, boudoir outfit ideas, best atlanta boudoir photographer,

 

7) What was your favorite part of the entire experience? (priming, the shoot, seeing images, giving the images..etc)

Hard to pick a favorite; the entire experience was uplifting and confidence building. Probably the most surprising and pleasing part was seeing the images and thinking “ damn, is that really me?!”

 

8) How has the response been to your images?

Very consistent – gasp of air, jaws dropped, then “WOW”

 

9) What is your advice for women interested in such a session? –

DO NOT WAIT, do it now!

 

10) Did anything change about the way you see your own beauty as a result of this session?

Absolutely. More confident. I am gorgeous

atlanta boudoir photographer, boudoir atlanta, african american boudoir, older boudoir, birthday boudoir session, atlanta boudoir photographer, boudoir photography

I am not alone (a revisit) | Atlanta Boudoir Photographer

Posted on by sarahwitherington@gmail.com

**This is a revisit to a post that I wrote at this time last year (original post and photos here). My life has changed SO much in the last year. For example, this time last year I was on a girl's trip to Greece taking every advantage of my single hood. This year I'm currently sitting in a hotel in Florence, Italy with my boyfriend of a year. I'm reposting this because I know there has to be at least one person going through a similar situation as I was last year. I've talking to so many of my boudoir clients (both my boudoir clients in Atlanta and ALL around the worlds) and our personal struggles are often so similar so we should never feel alone. Ok the end :) Read on for the full post and to see some photos from our current trip!  

--------------

If you've spent more than 5 minutes with me over the last 5 months then you've heard me talk excitedly about my newfound single-hood. There has been a LOT of traveling, in fact one of my BFFs asked me if I even lived in Atlanta anymore. (The answer is 'yes' I do still live in Atlanta, and I also live at the Atlanta airport. Shout out to the SkyClub at concourse B!)

This stage in my life has been named and re-named a few times and to be completely forward with you guys.. the current operating title is 'Hoe phase'. ;) I'm out there letting my freak flag fly and enjoying every minute of it. Don't get me wrong, cashing 'flirt' checks isn't how I fill the entirety of my time, but it holds a pretty big piece of the pie-chart. 

For the first time in five and a half years I am living life on my own, but I am not 'alone'.  

I'll admit that even though my relationship ended amicably, at first I was a little bitter and lost. My ex got to 'keep' our circle of friends. He 'got' to keep the apartment. Outside of no longer having me in his life (which as we all know is a terrible thing since I am so amazing hahahahaha) it seemed as if he didn't really have anything that changed. He owns a lot of clothes so at the very best he got to take over a second closet. I was the one that was immediately thrown into finding a new circle of friends, creating new routines, and frequenting foreign coffee shops. 

It took me all of about a week to get over the feeling of eye-rolling bitterness. To my surprise, the relationships and experiences that I have had over the last 5 months have been extraordinary. It really is fascinating the experiences that are easy to say 'YES' to when you have zero commitments telling you to say 'NO'. Of course right now my only voice-of-no is my wallet ;) I've met more people, travelled to more places, and tried more new experiences than I did in five and a half years. 

I say this to say. I am not 'alone'. 

A girlfriend and I had dinner a few months ago and she asked me if I was worried that I had spent 5years of my life with someone and had to 'start over' by being alone in my 30s. Let's all give her a bit of grace and assume she didn't mean that in a completely demeaning way. Had I not known this girl for 25 years I probably would have been offended, but I wasn't. There are as many different values as there are people in this world, and I've never been one to really have a romantic relationship as a top value.

The idea of not really caring either way about having a relationship with someone else is a foreign concept to some. With regards to the subject of boudoir, I'm often met with puzzled faces when I mention that a boudoir session is often done because my clients want the photos for 'just' themselves.

"Just". 

Fuck that word. 

"Just" yourself is enough. There is no one on this earth that you should love and honor more than yourself. It is wonderful to love someone else and to be loved by someone else, but you are also enough when you are "just" you. If you aren't in a romantic partnership you are not alone. I am not alone. If you ARE in a romantic partnership, you are not alone. I am not alone. We are living our lives. We may go to bed solo or *feeling* solo, but we are not alone. We have a world of common interests (I mean, you are reading this blog... presumably with like ONE other person) that gives us community. 

My girlfriend I was talking about is constantly trying to hook me up with any single male she meets.

"Just go on ONE date" she says.

"I do not want to date anyone" I say.

"Just ONE" she says. 

::there's that word 'just' again::

"I do not want to date anyone" I repeat.

"Ok well keep thinking about it" she forces. 

::eye roll::

 

I am not alone. I am ME. And I am enough. You are not alone. You are YOU. And you are enough.

 

 

"Stop saying 'I'm sorry'!" (a personal post) | Atlanta Boudoir Photographer

Posted on by sarahwitherington@gmail.com

"Stop saying 'I'm sorry' for things that you have no control over!"

Those are the words that my boyfriend repeated to me at least 4 times last night (and once this morning at 4am as I was dropping him off at the airport). 

He had just spent 7 hours at the Atlanta airport, two of those being on the tarmac, watching his flight get indefinitely delayed. After they deplaned he came home, understandably frustrated, and parked on the sofa. I greeted him with a hug and a kiss and an "I'm sorry about your flight". He hugged and kissed me back and we proceeded to order pizza and scrounge up some clean underwear for him to pack (since we also have no idea where his bag is at this point). 

For the remainder of the night I said "I'm sorry" for a variety of things. 

"I'm sorry about your laundry"

"I'm sorry that we couldn't get the pizza that you like"

"I'm sorry about the mess at the airport"

"I'm sorry you have to get up so early for your flight"

"I'm sorry they don't know when your flight is going to be"

I think I was about to bleat out my 87th "I'm sorry...." when Frank finally stops me and sternly says "Stop saying 'I'm sorry' for things that you have no control over". 

Of course my knee-jerk response was "I'm sorry" (but I used my willpower and refrained). What he had said really struck me. It wasn't because I felt like he wasn't hearing my empathy for his situation, but because I knew the "I'm sorry" reaction was indicative of a few bigger issues.

One issue of course is that I'm too lazy to more specifically express how I feel... hence using "I'm sorry" for when Frank's flight was delayed and also using "I'm sorry" for punching someone in the face (obviously two totally different things, and also the punching is hypothetical).

The second issue is that I realized my immediate response to ANY kind of inconvenience, especially when it happens to someone else, is to apologize for it. I swear, I would say "I'm sorry" to someone that backed into MY parked car. I find myself apologizing for getting bumped into on the sidewalk by someone not paying attention. I've probably apologized to an ex because HE cheated on me.

You see what I mean? 

This whole "sorry" problem came from somewhere, and I have no idea where. I honestly think that most women suffer from chronic "I'm sorry"-ness and we rarely recognize it (unless of course someone calls us out on it). It wasn't until Frank had to AGAIN say to me this morning "Stop apologizing for things that aren't your fault!" –after I apologized for having to take him to the airport– that it finally clicked. 

So, you've heard it here first folks.... I'm vowing to stop saying "I'm sorry" to things that aren't my fault, and promising to put more energy toward using other expressions to express empathy and understanding. 

If you suffer from "I'm sorry"-ness then STOP (as Frank would say). Take ownership of your existence and stand up for yourself. Also... if you come up with other expressions, like: "That's unfortunate", then please send me a list. I'm going to need all of the help I can get.

Sorry for the long post :), 

Sarah

atlanta boudoir photography, atlanta boudoir photographer, boudoir atlanta, bridal boudoir, own boudoir, best boudoir photography

Follow our SCARS project | Atlanta Boudoir Photographer

Posted on by sarahwitherington@gmail.com

Starting in January 2018 we began a personal project that focuses on telling the stories that leave their marks on us. 

This week (finally) the project has a name. It also has an Instagram. 

So....

Follow our personal project, taken from our interactions with over 1000 women during boudoir sessions. See the marks that our stories leave. Be a part of these stories. Send the stories to those that need to hear them. Know that we're all in this together. 

Currently you can find the Scars of our OWN (yes that's the name!!!!) project at: 

@ScarsOfOurOWN on Instagram

Interested in participating? Get in touch with us here

scars project, natural bodies, c section scar, miscarriage, PCOS, black and white photography (6 of 53).jpg